The ransom chain

If one is imagining that actor Rajkumar is being held a hostage by Veerappan alone who is also holding the people and the government of Karnataka to ransom, one is being too simplistic. Such naivette seems justified by the fact that it was the long arm of the brigand that plucked the matinee idol out of his lonely farmhouse in the dead of night, but the cast of characters who have siezed the stage since then have made the script more bizarre and complicated.

As the tale hangs now, Rajkumar is not the only hostage nor is the brigand the only villain of the piece while both the Karnataka Government and Veerappan, are actually at the two ends of the ransom spectrum. And what and who are occupying the interim space? Well we seems to have the answers to the jigsaw puzzle, if yesterday’s developments are any indication.

After intense consultations with all the opposition leaders and the MPs of the state, the Karnataka Government concludes that it is ‘wise’ to stick to the current emissary! But is not this wisdom more a product of fear and helplessness rather than the outcome of reason? Look at the chain of events on what turned out to be a hectic evening yesterday.

Karnataka conveys to Karunanidhi its wish to depute another emissary along with Gopal. Karunanidhi on his part broaches the subject with its cherished messenger who for his part ‘contacts Veerappan to seek his approval’. And the brigand promptly gets back to Gopal that he cannot countenance any other emissary other than the present incumbent who as we all know is none other than Gopal. All in a day. Or rather half a day.

Is it not extremely strange that Gopal who claims it to be an ordeal to reach Veerappan was able to elicit a reply from him in so short a time? Unless, of course, Gopal is lying, a suggestion that will surely be dubbed blasphemous and so which I am not hazarding.

Since truth is what Gopal says, one has to accept it, but still the mystery lingers on how he was able to contact Veerappan and then even manage to secure a reply that also incidentally secures his exalted status as the only emissary? If Veerappan is so accessible to Gopal, who actually claimed only the other day that Nagappa’s escape has pushed the brigand deeper into the jungles, then why take the trouble of trekking all the way to the jungles to contact the brigand?

After all Gopal does not carry any other bulky stuff with him, apart from video equipments, that had to be delivered to V, come what may; so why take the trouble when there are faster and more effective mens of communication at the emissary’s disposal? The negotiations could very well be conducted over whatever medium that Gopal used yesterday so that one is instantly updated on what’s on the brig’s mind. As instantly as we knew of V’s unflinching affinity to Gopal, yesterday.

Well, the whole episode stinks. And not because of a repulsive killer’s manic ways alone but also owing to the shananigans of a host of intermediaries that inludes footloose editors and their sadistic sponsors in the seats of power in TN. Though the Karnataka government invited all this ignominy upon itself by lapsing into all fours in a sort of pavlovian response to the brigand’s coup, one cannot help sympathising with it after one has emptied his anger at its impotence.

Everytime that government musters the courage and will to alter its strategy, the proposal is immediately shot down by an interested coterie here in TN owing to the oft repeated yet untested claim that they hold all the aces. If only Karnataka dares to call the bluff, the cat will be out. But alas, that does not seem to happen.

Instead what we see is a despicable ransom / hostage chain that connects the Vidan Soudha to the jungles with all the vital links running through TN. The Karnataka government is not only a hostage to Veerappan but also to the Tamilnadu government headed by a rational CM as also to the only emissary, who as it appears now, could very well contact V in a jiffy, if the need arose, that is, if his patent is threatened.

As a corollary, Krishna and his people will not only have to appease the brigand alone but also all the brokers in between beginning with our CM to his chosen errand boy. And every middleman in this chain is bent on extracting his pound of fleshI for is it not rational too to make hay while the sun shines? (Make it Sun, with a capital S if you wish). It may happen that even if the jungle lord V grants the boon of freedom to Rajkumar, the poojaris may not allow it to materialise. Unless of course, it all happens the way they want it.

Ultimately, it is truth and transparency that is being held to ransom, and it is certainly not Veerappan who is the culprit!

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Jawahar T R